Why I Write – Becky Lin

When I was learning how to do improv on the saxophone, my teacher often told me that all music is stolen from other music. Now, before we raise the pitchforks and start filing law suits, allow me to explain what he meant. As atrocious as it sounds I find that that statement holds a surprising amount of truth and not just towards music but also towards anything, be it machines, computer code, architecture, anything where imagination has a part in and is able to take root in. It seems that as humans, we can’t stop absorbing what we’ve seen and heard and then reshaping it in our minds in the name of “inspiration.” I’m not condemning this practice, but rather applauding it. I find it amazing, it helps reduce the pressure I often feel of having to create something completely original and it’s also interesting to me that ideas we come in contact with are so malleable. I believe this to be because every person has a unique set of experiences and even when multiple people share the same experience, the way the perceive it will still differ from person to person. What emotions we associate with something, what values it represents, as well as how we weigh those values and emotions make it so that no two people will produce the exact same thing given the freedom of imagination and expression. In turn, I believe that each person has a unique story that only they can tell or at least a story that can only be told in a way unique to that person and that includes myself. I write stories because I know that no matter how terrible my stories may be right now, every story I write is unique and eventually I’ll be able to write an amazing story that only I can tell.

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